Pretend You Love Me
By Chrissy Dionne
Jan 8, 2007 - 6:24:00 PM

With her divorce behind her, Cassie Delistraty returns to Seattle with the hopes of finding a renewed sense of purpose in her life. So far that isn’t happening. She spends all her time remodeling her home, playing with her dogs, and shamelessly teasing her longtime crush, Mike Ashford, whenever an opportunity arises. Cassie comes from a well off family of attorneys and judges. As an attorney herself she’s learned to be tough. The only person Cassie doesn’t seem to be able to stand up to is her mom.

Mike Ashford worked as a firefighter until he suffered an injury which made it necessary for him to take a desk job. Unhappy with the stagnant and isolated life behind a desk, he made the decision to open a nightclub with his dad’s ex–police partner, Ernie. Mike’s attraction to Cassie has lasted for the past twelve years but because her brother is Mike’s best friend that makes her off limits. He never would have guessed that her mother’s impromptu dance contest on the nightclub pool table would bring them together.

Ernie’s on the verge of having Cassie’s mother arrested for causing a disturbance so Mike does the only thing he can think to do and calls Cassie in the hopes that she can tame her mother down a bit. The last thing he expects is for Cassie to laugh it off and inform him that he’s interrupting her "dirty book hour" and that self-service is a serious pursuit. In reality, she is only painting her toenails but now Mike is left with a mental image that he can’t brush off.

Cassie does end up going down to The Electric Wave to try to extract her mother from whatever trouble she’s getting herself into this time. Sure enough, there’s mom dancing on the pool table with one of the nightclub customers while a bunch of other men stood by watching her breasts jiggle. As if that’s not shocking enough, she soon learns that not only is her mother holding a dance contest, but a date with Cassie is the prize. Mike comes to her rescue and tells her mother that she can’t set Cassie up because she’s already dating him. It’s a lie, but Cassie eagerly agrees. It’ll save her from her mother’s horrid matchmaking. There’s no denying the chemistry between Mike and Cassie but can they pull off pretend dating and remain just friends?

PRETEND YOU LOVE ME is sure to grab the reader's attention right from the first page. Cassie and Mike’s relationship is full of anxious situations and hysterically funny sexual comments and innuendos. It’s also endearing and exactly the sort of relationship most couples can only dream of achieving. Stacia Wolf does an amazing job in depicting all of the characters in this novel so that as a reader, I felt like I knew them and went through each of the challenges they faced right along with them. I especially love how Cassie’s parents’ troubled relationship is brought to light and plays such a major role in so many lives. This is a truly fun book and I had a wonderful time reading about all of the characters’ antics. Well done Ms. Wolf!

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